Calls grow for Topshop boss Philip Green to lose knighthood after fresh allegations
Sir Philip Green was the subject of fresh calls to be stripped of his knighthood yesterday following allegations he groped a female executive and bought her silence with more than £1m.
The retail tycoon also allegedly referred to a black employee "throwing spears in the jungle" while drawing attention to his dreadlocks, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Details of the allegations against the Arcadia owner involving five employees were revealed by the newspaper after his legal action against the paper ended at the High Court.
The Sunday Telegraph printed a further allegation, reporting that two executives corroborated a woman's complaint to a lawyer, but their comments failed to surface in a final report.
Millions of pounds were allegedly paid out in settlements with staff members, while non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) were put in place to prevent them discussing the matters.
Sir Philip denied his behaviour was criminal or amounted to gross misconduct.
Theresa May's former policy adviser George Freeman has called for the businessman to be stripped of his knighthood if the allegations against him are true.
When asked by the Sunday Times if Sir Philip should lose the honour, the MP for Mid Norfolk said: "Honours like knighthoods and peerages are granted to people in good faith on the basis of what seems at the time a distinguished public record.
"If it transpires that there was indeed some fraud or misconduct or wilful misleading of people or abuse of office, then yes."
Labour chairman Ian Lavery has also called for the Topshop owner's knighthood to be removed if the claims are accurate.
"If the allegations are true, then Philip Green should be stripped of his knighthood," he said.
"The honours system is clearly flawed and the Prime Minister should take steps to remove honours from people who bring their office into disrepute."
The calls joined those from Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable.
Sir Philip's lawyers told the Telegraph: "It is further denied that any of Sir Philip's conduct towards employees amounted to any type of crime, or anything that would amount to gross misconduct, or a serious risk to health and safety."
Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss said NDA laws need changing to prevent their abuse.
"I do think it is disgraceful that he (Sir Philip) has been able to use non-disclosure agreements to effectively silence victims of sexual and racial abuse," she told Sky's Ridge On Sunday.
"I think we need to look seriously at those non-disclosure agreements and get changes to them because I think it's completely wrong that people like Philip Green have been able to flout the law."